Have you been wondering why HP offers three different 3G options for the HP Mini 1000 netbook, when there are only two compatible 3G plans in the U.S.? I was wondering the same when I saw that you could add integrated 3G to your HP netbook for $199. HP’s press folks responded to my inquiry on the topic and sure enough, they confirmed that the third option indeed uses a Qualcomm Gobi chipset. That’s the chip that supports both currently available wireless broadband technologies: EV-DO and HSDPA.
If you have carrier commitment issues, this might make for the best option because it gives you the hardware flexibility to use either Verizon Wireless or AT&T for your 3G connectivity. This also justifies the $199 card price a little bit more, since you’re able to switch wireless broadband networks in the future without adding additional hardware. For example: if you currently live and work in an area with great Verizon coverage but move to where the network is better served by AT&T, you should theoretically be able to switch carriers and networks simply by running the HP Connection Manager. Of course, that’s after jumping through any contract or account hoops with the carrier.
Remember that back in September, Verizon Wireless supplemented their one- and two-year contract commitments for data plans with a month-to-month option. I haven’t seen any news of AT&T dropping their contract commitments and when looking at their current terms for a Laptop Connect data plan, I see term commitments. Either I’ve missed some AT&T news on this front or it’s likely easier to move that HP Mini 1000 from Verizon to AT&T with this option and not so easy the other way around.
Update: if that $199 option is too much to swallow, it’s now slightly offset with a $40 price reduction on the netbook itself. HP indicates that the Mini 1000 now starts at $359 and I’ve confirmed it on the product page.